Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 29, 2014 Letter

 I loved Skyping with all of you, too!! It was so fun and so happy. Everyone really thought you guys were cool. I wish we could have had more time, but at the same time, it´s good that we didn´t. It would have just made it harder. I was fine for the rest of Christmas, but getting back to the grind the next day was a bit hard for me. I got pretty homesick for a little bit, but I learned in that moment that just forgetting yourself and working as hard as you can for other people is the only way to make feelings like that go away. I´m doing great now!! We had a great week and we both feel really, really good. Hopefully that can continue for my last 2 weeks in Barrio 2.

Tell everyone thank you for the money, that´s so sweet of everyone. It will be put towards warm mission clothing (as in the scarf that I am wearing right now). The mission is going really well. It freaks me out that a third of it is already over, but I have this entire year to give everything I have to the Lord and work as hard as I can, so I´m excited for that.

 I´ve been learning a lot about the 12 Tribes of Israel as of late and about the significance of the Restoration and missionary work and how everything goes together. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times because the covenant that God made with Abraham is finally available for everyone in this Earth- that covenant basically being that if we live the Gospel, we can live with our Father in Heaven again. We have the enormous responsibility to bring the knowledge of that covenant and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the world that are not aware of the fact that these blessings are now available to them. When people are baptized, they enter into that covenant- to serve and to be saved. When they are sealed in the temple and their kids are born, their kids are born into the covenant of living forever with their families. It´s really very simple. There are people everywhere that have been scattered and are lost, lost from the Church and also lost in their own lives. So that is where we come in. We do ALL that we can to find these people that will listen, and in that process, we save them. The Lord pulls them into this covenant. It´s so interesting and it brings a whole new dimension to missionary work, understanding and realizing my part in the Abrahamic covenant. I just know that this Gospel is the only true way for people to be saved, not only in the future, but now, in their own lives. Everyone has a story, and their needs can always be answered with a principle or blessing in the Gospel. It´s amazing. The more people I meet, the more I see that. I hope I´m doing the best I can to spread this work to more children of the Lord. I´m glad that I have this chance to do so.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pictures December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 Letter

So I´m doing pretty good! Owned some Hispanic men at soccer this morning with my new shoes, am in the middle of planning a dance that the missionaries are going to do at the ward Christmas party (why did they put me in charge of that) and had a crazy lesson with a crazy Scottish lesbian in her piso last night... so I guess you could say that life here is crazy as usual. I am still in Barrio 2!! One more transfer and Christmas here, woohoo! It´s pretty normal to stay 4 transfers in your first area, and the last two or three sister missionaries that have left here have spent 4 transfers here, as well. I´m excited to have more time here and to have more time to try my hardest to leave it better than I found it. I´m still with Hermana Irigoyen... woohoo.

It actually wasn´t fast Sunday for us this week, seeing as it was stake conference in Pavones, but I can tell you how they usually go! We start fasting on Saturday afternoon, after we eat at Medio Dia, and wait till the next day at Medio Dia to break the fast. It´s not too hard! Actually not bad at all. We eat every Sunday afternoon with a member family that loves the missionaries! They´re really sweet and the hermana has really improved in her cooking since I got here... but they do have two very sheddy dogs... I just try to pick my way around the dog hairs and then it´s all good!

To answer your other question, there is nothing but city in my part of Madrid. Nothing but city. I actually get very homesick for the mountains and grass and yards and everything while being here. I hope that someday I can go to the North or the Islands, where it´s green and pretty (in most parts). I´ve learned that city life really isn´t for me. I love it here.. I really do!! But when I get home, I´m going to definitely spend a long time in the mountains and like... laying in grass, I guess (what else do people do in grass, I forget). But if I have to be in a city for this long, I´m glad it´s Madrid. I really love it here. I don´t know how to explain it... it´s just a special place.

So this week has been good! I´ve really been improving a lot and I can feel it on the streets and in lessons. I still have SO much left to improve on but it´s a work in progress. The mission is not a race, it´s not an event, it´s a process. So I guess you could say that I´m a work in progress. Nothing too exciting! We have a new Spanish old man investigator named M. He´s really amazing. We contacted him in the street and he let us come over the next day and teach him. He has a read a little bit of the Book of Mormon already and it´s so cool! I think he has a lot of potential, I felt the Spirit really strong when I stopped him that day.

Our familia bonita is doing well! They love the Gospel and are excited to progress. I don´t feel like I´ll be here for their baptism, I think it will take more time, which sort of breaks my heart. But at least I get to play a small part in their process. We haven´t been feeling like we´ve had a lot of success lately, which I think has been hard for both of us. We really are trying to improve and get better every day, but sometimes as we improve as missionaries and people and servants of the Lord, the results get worse and worse. It´s a weird thing but I guess you just gotta roll with the punches! I´ve been reading a lot of last conference in my personal study lately and I really loved the talk by the Ukranian guy, Jorg something?? It was very straightforward and direct and super, super good. I loved it. I loved what he said about how sometimes, hard times in our lives (and in our missions) are a sign that we are doing something right and that the Lord is testing us and helping us become better. I hope that´s the case at this point! I loved his counsel to make the Atonement a living, breathing entity of our lives by constantly repenting and using the Atonement at all parts in our lives, because it never runs out. I have felt that out here. The enabling power of the Atonement has become very apparent in my mission and I´ve come to understand it better and better.

Life goes on! I love being a missionary, as hard as it can be at times. I hope that I can continue to become better and improve. Every day is an adventure, and I´ve learned that the harder I work, the better I feel. I hope that I can become the example that I need to be and the missionary that the Lord needs me to be, as well. Life just keeps going! Time keeps rolling. I hope everything is good at home and that people are happy healthy and good, and super excited for Christmas!! I love you all!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pictures December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014 Letter

I had a really, super spiritual experience on the street the other day that was just crazy. Absolutely insane, and sadly, it is tinged with a little bit of regret, but I am still going to tell it because I learned a powerfully important lesson from it. So we were walking down the street and I saw this older, Spanish man sitting on a bench, drinking a beer and looking rather sad. I saw him and just KNEW that I had to talk to him, so I did. He wanted nothing to do with us, but we persisted and found out that he doesn´t believe in God because he feels like just another person- a drop in a huge sea that really isn´t making any waves. It was a sort of sad conversation but he really didn´t have any interest, so as we were getting ready to leave, the though came to my mind, "Say goodbye to him and call him Miguel". I about said it, but then hesitated because I realized that he hadn´t, in fact, told us his name yet. So I looked at him and he looked at me, and just then, my companion asked for his name. "Miguel," he said, "Me llamo Miguel". WHAT THE FREAK. His name was Miguel, I knew his name was Miguel, and the Lord knew His name was Miguel. I wish I would have said it. I really, honestly do. He needed to feel loved and he needed to know that the Lord knows him by name and loves him. And I hesitated and the opportunity was gone. BUt as we walked away, I knew that it was ok because now I know. I know that the Lord LOVES US and is so, so aware of us. He was aware of that sad Spanish man on the bench on Calle Alcala, and He is aware of me and the fact that I needed that testimony. I will not hestitate again. That is my goal. When a spiritual prompting comes, the moment to act is immediately, not minutes or even seconds later. It is now. So, there is my story. Learn from my mistakes, if needs be! I sure am.